Shane Duffy’s late header rescued a point for Ireland as they drew 1-1 against Denmark in Copenhagen on Friday evening.
Ireland started the game well, pressing the Danes and having their fair share of possession but they failed to create any clear cut chances as the two sides went into the break scoreless.
As the second half began so too did the most open period in the game with the two teams exchanging chances through Poulsen and McClean before the Danes began to take control.
They opened the scoring through Pierre Holjberg with twenty minutes to go before man of the match Duffy’s late header won Ireland a valuable point in the group.
Here are 13 quickfire conclusions as dynamic Duffy rescues a result in Denmark
1) There had been calls for the likes of Callum O’Dowda and Callum Robinson to start for Ireland but it was great to see some stability to the side. This was the first time since Euro 2016 the Boys in Green had named an unchanged starting XI.
2) It only took about five minutes to see that Ireland would be much more attacking in this game than they had been in Aarhus in 2018. Denmark had the better of the early possession but when Ireland did get the ball they were positive with midfielders supporting McGoldrick whenever they got forward. A far cry from being camped in their own box nine months ago.
3) Ireland pressed very well in the first half and done extremely well to limit the time Denmark had on the ball in the defence and midfield areas.
4) The early signs were there though that Denmark’s danger man Christian Eriksen could threaten. There were a couple of instances where he took up good positions and created chances but Ireland defended well, with Shane Duffy, in particular, having an outstanding game.
5) There had been a little bit of needle going into this game given a number of Danish players’ comments about the Irish style of play in the week, and it seemed to translate onto the field with both sides tough in that tackle, and full of aggression.
6) The game opened up a little in the early stages of the second half and Brady played a big part in two good chances for McClean and McGoldrick but there’s no doubt that he was off the pace for most of the game, almost looking uncomfortable in possession. It’s difficult to see a player, who was one of Ireland’s finest before his injury, look so out of his depth.
7) Glenn Whelan, who was excellent in Ireland’s win over Georgia, was deservedly included in the starting XI but as the game entered the midway point in the second half he began to look tired with the Danes picking up a lot more space and creating a host of chances which they certainly should’ve done better with.
8) Denmark’s finishing was poor throughout but Holbjerg took his goal very well, a tremendous header after his run into the box wasn’t tracked by the Irish midfield.
9) The goal was a real body blow to Ireland who had played well throughout. There’s no doubt that the Danes were deserving of the opener though after they upped their game and took risks going forward in the second 45.
10) That was of course before Shane Duffy rose highest in the Danish box.
11) We mentioned Shane Duffy’s performance briefly, but the Brighton defender was truly a titan at the back and, as it turned out, at the front for Ireland in Copenhagen. He put in a host of outstanding challenges and popped up with the equaliser when the Boys in Green needed him most.
12) It’s also worth mentioning the performance of Enda Stevens who was excellent again. The Sheffield United man has worked hard to make the left back spot his own looks more than comfortable in Mick McCarthy’s side.
13) The Danes may have failed to take their chances in this game and arguably had the better of it but there’s no doubt that this is a valuable point for McCarthy and Ireland as they face Gibraltar on Monday.